CPQ System For B2B: How To Develop A Distributor Quote Process That Converts
Innovate beyond spreadsheets and share rich product data (images, descriptions, downloads, etc.) integrated with your inventory and order management software.
If record sales are your goal this year (as they should be every year), then you should focus your attention on closing individual deals/quotes faster and more frequently. The sales cycle for industrial suppliers covering the entire supply chain; from OEMs to Wholesale and D2C Distributors, is often slowed-down and stalled out by outdated tactics.
A Plea to Change Outdated Sales Process
If you are in sales, it’s time to lose the spreadsheets and endless follow-up associated with the way things are currently done: you’re introduced to an opportunity, you make an in-person visit or respond to an email, you throw together a list of items and pricing, and you beg for the order.
Meanwhile, your prospect is using the very spreadsheet of MFG part numbers (from the manufacturer) and pricing to shop your quote against other distributors. Then, even if you get the go-ahead on the order, your customer has to get management approval… and the process drags on for eternity. This is the most out-of-date, old-fashioned, and detrimental sales process you could possibly employ.
Here’s a Much Better Solution: A CPQ System for B2B Buyer
A better solution would be to start with rich product content (images, descriptions, downloads, etc.) integrated with your inventory and order management software. Rather than sending a spreadsheet, this product list is prepared and presented through a secure, online portal where your customers can view related products, make pricing comparisons, and ultimately add items to a favorites list or shopping cart.
Imagine your customer’s online portal including custom payment terms, shipping options, incentives, and a clear brand promise that aligns with your customer’s goals. Now, make this a reality; in other words, implement a configure-price-quote (CPQ) system for B2B buyers.
Journey to Becoming a Customer-focussed Industrial Supplier
Don’t take our word for it. Global management consultant, Allen Austin recommends distributors embrace technology to foster adaptability in today’s dynamic market space. Investing in technology like the CPQ system for B2B facilitates product and service differentiation and improves customer service on the way ahead.
Industrial suppliers can couple CPQ systems with existing technologies such as an eCommerce platform, Customer Relationship Management (CRM) system, Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) software, and Warehouse Management System (WMS). It would open up opportunities to
- Match buyers with solutions quickly and effectively,
- Provide accurate product configuration and option selection, and eventually,
- Reduce spending on customer inquiries and order entry.
Finally, Time to Hunt!
All of this is so easy a caveman (or field sales rep) can do it. With a few clicks, your sales rep can create a customer account, add items, implement custom pricing, and email the customer a link to login, shop, and checkout to complete the order.
The order information is stored in the customer’s portal and (here’s the magic), your customer will receive automated emails and notifications when it’s time to reorder, finalize checkout, make payments on their account, and view related offers. Ahhh… time to relax. Just kidding, get out there and knock on some doors!
Try Implementing this (example) SMART Goal:
“By August 31, 2023, we will improve our closed opportunities by 20% by training our sales team to utilize our CommerzNXT platform to sell faster, easier, and better.”
Action Item Checklist:
- We have the right software solution(s) / partner(s) to automate the quoting process.
- We are prepared to incentivize our sales team for online sales associated with their accounts.
- We have a brand promise or value proposition that aligns with our customer’s goals.
- We have a documented tiered pricing model and the ability to research pricing from other online competitors.
- We have documented supply-chain workflows for in-stock, drop-ship, and storeroom management.
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